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Late comeback not enough for men's hockey team

York succumbed to a series of offensive onslaughts against local and league rivals Leeds this Wednesday afternoon (Thumbnail credit Image: Phillipa Grafton)

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York succumbed to a series of offensive onslaughts against local and league rivals Leeds this Wednesday afternoon. In a game where momentum was the deciding factor, York conceded too many in the face of prolonged pressure. The win for Leeds means they sneak ahead of York in the 2B league.

It was York who appeared the more aggressive in the opening few minutes. Launching an all-out attack from left, right, and centre the Leeds backs looked flummoxed. A yellow card given to the opponent's number 16 after some foul play on Laurie Torrington meant York had a one-man advantage for five minutes and they seemed certain of grabbing the opening advantage.

A burst from Niko Bode down the right drew a foul, but nothing materialised from the short corner, as the sheer number of Leeds' bodies in the D meant any shot had only a limited chance of finding its way through.

Against the pace of play it was Leeds who scored the first goal. A fine ball that went undetected by the York defence was latched onto by the Leeds number 80 who was gifted a relatively easy tap-in. Despite the blow, York goalkeeper Sam Harriman did well to compose himself and block another Leeds attempt at goal not long after the restart.

It was with this first goal that the momentum of the game swung in Leeds' favour. After a period of sustained pressure they added another to their tally when their number 63 found himself totally unmarked in the middle of the York area. Harriman was helpless against the ensuing strike that was unleashed from such close range.

The half-time whistle was welcomed by York as they looked stretched against a Leeds side heeding the call of their coach to 'use the width' of the entire pitch.

Images: Justyn Hardcastle and Philippa Grafton

There was little respite for York, however, as Leeds claimed another goal just minutes into the second half; their number 16 rounding his marker and slotting the ball in the bottom corner. York appeared to be getting caught out where it mattered most: in the centre of their own D.

With the movement of the ball into the Leeds' half, York looked to reclaim some pride against the 3-0 scoreline. Captain Andy Harris had the home side's first chance in what seemed like an eternity, but his strike met the foot of the Leeds goalkeeper. Torrington was equally unfortunate when his effort was lofted just wide of the net.

Henry Meller finally provided the initiative that saw York reap the reward of some hard work. Meller, the recipient of a short corner, displayed some great control to run the perimeter of the D before sending the ball across the face of the goal. It was Kris Siva who poked the ball over the line and gave York faint hope of a comeback.

Hope was faint, however, as Leeds made it 4-1 after a finely worked set-piece. The lead was then extended to four when the visitors' number 16 found himself on the right side of a bit of a scrap again in the York D. A consolation goal was added by York's Niko Bode merely seconds after the restart but, by this time, it was too late to influence the outcome of the game.

In what was a bitterly disappointing loss to a team so evenly matched with York, Andy Harris showed praise for Leeds, citing their ability to "hold shape and their composure on the ball" as important factors. While it was "nice to get a couple of goals back in the second half, they were ultimately more clinical in front of goal".

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